Influencer marketing today (and for the last 5 years) is following a set pattern. Engage celebrities and content creators like bloggers and vloggers and get them to tweet, post, blog about the product or service.
Using celebrities for paid brand endorsement has been around for ages and predates social media. It works well as an awareness building strategy. Within the content creators (CC) space a whole industry has emerged with platforms aggregating and providing brands and media/social agencies easy access to them. Some of these platforms have now moved to a self serve model with published rate cards per tweet, per post by influencer based on their influence score. This is great from a media planning and buying perspective, as it is analogous to higher media cost for a higher rated TV program/website.
The question is: Can we do better? Is celebrities + content creators the most effective influencer marketing mix? Are we missing something? The answer is a big yes.
For the last four years starting in 2011, Nielsen has been conducting a Global Trust study which rates all touch points on how much they are trusted. Three rounds have been conducted in 2011, 2013 and 2015. The 2015 study spanned 60+ countries with 30,000+ respondents. Consistently in all 3 studies, Recommendations of people I know i.e Friends, Family, colleagues (not celebrities and bloggers) comes out to be #1 in Trust
In 2015, 83% of the global respondents said they completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family.
Now, trust is a simple surrogate for Influence as obviously somebody you trust also influences you more, which in turn should lead to a higher chance of action. This trust-action correlation is again corroborated by the Nielsen study:
“…… The Nielsen study also looked at self-reported response to advertising, measured as the percentage of respondents who always or sometimes take action on the ads in question. The top formats in terms of action are broadly consistent with the trust rankings. On Recommendations from people I know,83% always or sometimes taking action…”
So the opportunity staring all marketers right in the face for the last 5 years is: add reccos of friends and family, to the influencer marketing mix to complement celebrities and content creators. These are the everyday grassroot key opinion leaders- the mirco influencers.
Adding micro influencers makes for a more holistic influencer mix as shown below.
So in 2016, if you want to boost the ROI of your influencer marketing efforts, do consider adding Micro influencers to the mix. The business case is clear. And if we trust Nielsen for reporting market share, why not do the same for touch-point influence and act on it.
Asit Gupta is the Founder of Advocacy which creates Micro Influencers at scale.